Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Ok. So my doe is definitely fading a bit. She is normally a rich light-red color but she's getting to be more blonde lately. I need to get her some copper but I'm not sure exactly how to go about it. I can get copper boluses through Jeffers Livestock but I'm concerned about the dosage as these are labeled for cattle. What do you use for copper supplements for your NDGs?

Also, I was wondering- my other doe is mostly cream-colored with some chocolate areas...how can I tell if she is copper deficient?

Thanks for your input!

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I wouldn't assume a goat is deficient in copper just because she's fading a little bit. However, if you're talking about May -- the goat that's not coming into heat -- lack of heat cycles, failure to settle, and failure to stay pregnant are all symptoms of copper deficiency. Other symptoms are a rough coat, failure to shed in spring, or shedding from the face. Some also have a fish tail, where it looks like they have no hair on the tip of their tail.

There are really only two options for copper. One is a prescription injectable, and when I tried to go that route, I had four vets tell me that copper deficiency was impossible as long as my goats were getting a complete feed and mineral. Even after a goat died, and I insisted on a liver level, which was 4.8 (normal is 25 to 150 ppm), one refused to give me the prescription copper. So, I get the Jeffers cattle boluses, break them up, and redistribute them into empty gelatin caps in goat-sized doses. You can get empty gel caps from Frontier Co-op online, which also sells great herbs, and shipping is free on orders over $75 (or at least it was last few times I ordered). You can also get a pound of red raspberry leaves from Frontier, and they're good for goats at the end of pregnancy and in labor and postpartum. It's a uterine toner. Most goats love them, but I digress.

I got the dosages from another breeder, and she gave me five different capsule sizes, but I just bought two, and if a goat is bigger than 40 pounds, I use two capsules. Capsule sizes are one of those weird things where the larger number is a smaller size -- so I use a size 0 for goats that are 30-40 pounds and size 1 for goats that are 15-20 pounds. Larger capsule sizes are 00 and 000, etc. The size 0 capsule full of copper weighs about 2 grams. If you have a digital scale, but it won't weigh that amount, put five capsules on there, and if they're 10 g, you've got the same amount. There is also a UK company that sells goat and sheep size boluses, but I don't recall where I have that info at the moment. Redistributing the copper is not really a big deal. After I did it the first time, I wondered why I'd ever been hesitant to try.
Well that would explain things a little more with May- and her coat is pretty rough compared to Chutney's...
I guess I'd best start shopping for copper boluses and gel caps...
Thanks for the input, Deborah!
I have also found a form of chelated minerals in a paste called Mineral Max. The only place on line that I have been able to find Mineral Max is www.americanlivestock.com .
I have not been using them very long but have found that if the goat is not very deficient the Min Max will keep them from getting extremely deficient.
But if the goat is already extremely deficient it will help but I have still had to use the boluses on them and I have found that with the extremely deficient adults that I can give them 2 "oo" boluses every 2 to 3 weeks with no problem until their color and coat are up where they should be. For the adults for Min Max I have been giving them about 6cc once a week on bread that most all of them gabble it right down but some of them it took a little longer to accept the yummy bread that had something hiding in it.

Mac's Rainbow sm
p.s This of course is only what I have been able to discover in using the Min Max since it of course is not labeled for goats so if someone else would use it and give us feed back on what they think of it that would be great.
I tried to give May a couple 2 gram capsules of copper but she kept biting them then spitting them out! I don't have a 'bolus gun' but I cut the tip off a syringe which I thought would work...apparently not. At this point I'm not sure how much she actually ingested- that was a couple weeks ago and she has yet to get her color back and I STILL haven't seen her go into heat...and no signs that she had been in heat if I'd missed it. I'm not sure if I should try to give her another 2 gram bolus or not...

Any suggestions?
Administering a bolus is the most challenging part, and if you don't have a bolus gun, it can be downright scary and sometimes painful! The cattle bolus gun is too big for Nigerians, and I've heard that if you use the one for dogs, goats will bite it in half with one chomp. Here is my solution -- buy the generic medication for yeast infections at Wal-Mart, the 7-day cream. It comes with seven "applicators," which are only slightly too big for the 2 gram capsule, so the capsule will be a little loose in there, but just hold it upright, so it doesn't fall out. The whole thing costs about $4-5, and you'll have seven goat-sized bolus guns that will last practically forever. (An afghan breeder also told me that the cream is great for dog's ear infections.) The applicator is a soft, but very thick plastic, and it's pliable. I've been using one for about six months now, and it's covered with bite marks, but it's still working. You have to put it as far back into the goat's mouth as you can. Otherwise, most of them will spit it out. Ideally, they'll just make a loud swallowing sound after you depress the plunger. If you hear crunching, you have to hold the goats mouth closed with their nose up in the air, so all they can really do is chew and swallow. Or give up, let them spit it out and try again with a new one. Overdosing with copper oxide isn't something that's a huge concern (copper sulfate is another story), so if she swallows a few pieces of copper before spitting it out, I wouldn't hesitate about giving her a second one. You might also want to make sure you're standing on a concrete floor or something where you can see what she spits out. I know I usually do it where there's grass or straw, so I don't usually fine the remnants. It's one of those things that just takes practice, but you'll get the hang of it!
I came across an entry on either The Goat Spot or the Goat Beat forum where someone was putting the copper pellets in a marshmallow and the goats took it right down.Then they showed a picture of an MRI of the goats inside to show where the pellets were lodged.It seemed like a sucessful way to do it.I do not even have goats yet but have been trying to read up on the challenges awaiting me.Sorry I can't give you the exact link but probably a search on those 2 forums would find it for you especially searching marshmallow.

Melissa Senesac said:
I tried to give May a couple 2 gram capsules of copper but she kept biting them then spitting them out! I don't have a 'bolus gun' but I cut the tip off a syringe which I thought would work...apparently not. At this point I'm not sure how much she actually ingested- that was a couple weeks ago and she has yet to get her color back and I STILL haven't seen her go into heat...and no signs that she had been in heat if I'd missed it. I'm not sure if I should try to give her another 2 gram bolus or not...

Any suggestions?
I had totally forgotten that I also tried a sneaky method -- put honey on a graham cracker, then sprinkled the copper on the honey, and put another graham cracker on top, so it was a copper sandwich. It worked for some goats, but not all. Guess some were just too smart for me! I also got honey all over my fingers, and it was kind of messy, so I haven't tried it again.

salviadorrii said:
I came across an entry on either The Goat Spot or the Goat Beat forum where someone was putting the copper pellets in a marshmallow and the goats took it right down.Then they showed a picture of an MRI of the goats inside to show where the pellets were lodged.It seemed like a sucessful way to do it.I do not even have goats yet but have been trying to read up on the challenges awaiting me.Sorry I can't give you the exact link but probably a search on those 2 forums would find it for you especially searching marshmallow.

I was able to get it into them using just the syringe with the tip cut off...with May I had to hold her mouth shut for a while...but it worked. And amazingly enough, she actually went into heat a week or two later!!! So we're thrilled. Amazing what vitamin and mineral deficiencies can do to you (or your goat). Thanks for all the tips ladies! I feel alot more prepared for next time!
:)
Where do you get your copper boluses from? I looked on Jeffers web site, but couldn't find them. What exactly are they called? Do farm stores carry them?
Pretty sure I got mine from Jeffers...are you looking for "goat" boluses? Because the ones I got were for cattle...then I had to break them down into smaller capsules as Deborah suggested in an earlier post. Just do a general search for 'copper bolus' and see if you have any luck. =]



Anna Cummings said:
Where do you get your copper boluses from? I looked on Jeffers web site, but couldn't find them. What exactly are they called? Do farm stores carry them?
Ok, found them. Don't know why I couldn't find them before! So, to make sure I am understanding this, the dosage would be 2 grams and I can either put it in a capsule and shove it down their throats, or sneak it into marshmallows or graham crackers? If I sneak into marshmallows, should it still be in a capsule form? Is the capsule important?
Thanks.
I think if you put it in a marshmellow you wouldn't need the capsules (as long as you can be sure of the amount you're putting in them...) because they'll chew the marshmallow anyways making the capsule obsolete. :)

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